Carlos Bica & Azul – Twist (1999)

FrontCover1Carlos Bica, born in Lisbon (Portugal) and currently living in Berlin (Germany), is a double bass player and composer.

Bica studied at the Academia dos Amadores de Musica in Lisbon[1] and the Hochschule für Musik in Würzburg. He was “Musician of the Year” in Portugal in 1998. He has played at important jazz festivals across Europe and Asia.

He has also composed for several theatres as well as dance and film productions. He worked for many years with Portuguese vocalist Maria João – a cooperation that established him on the international scene. He has also worked with the likes of Portuguese Fado singers Carlos do Carmo, Camané, Cristina Branco, Ana Moura, José Mário Branco, and jazz musicians Ray Anderson, Kenny Wheeler, Aki Takase, Paolo Fresu, Julian Argüelles, Frank Möbus, Jim Black, Steve Argüelles, Lee Konitz, Mário Laginha, Matthias Schubert, João Paulo Esteves da Silva, Markus Stockhausen, Antonio Pinho Vargas, Alexander von Schlippenbach among others. (by wikipedia)

This is the follow-up to Carlos Bica’s widely acclaimed best-selling album “Azul” that earned delighted reviews everywhere and was voted Jazz Album of the Year in Portugal. The band played big European festivals (e.g. Lissabon, Berlin, Nuremberg) and did several radio productions. Bridging Portuguese roots with creative freedom à la Knitting Factory, Azul gives a new and airy definition of guitar trio aesthetics.

Carlos Bica01

Bassist Carlos Bica, one of Portugal’s premiere jazz musicians, teams up with drummer Jim Black and electric guitarist Frank Möbius for a zany yet accessible romp through a musical landscape that runs the gamut, from the serene hills of 16th century art song to the beaches of tongue-in-cheek surf music. Bica has a fat, gorgeous cello-romantic tone, perfect when bowed on the opening tango, “Roses for You,” and “Paixao.” Fans of the Portuguese group Madredeus will be familiar with the faraway, melancholy tone of many of the tunes here, not to mention pleasantly surprised by Black’s snickety-snackety ingenuity and Möbius’ shimmering, Bill Frisell-inspired guitar. The ballad, “Sera,” strikes a beautiful balance between arco bass and single-note guitar, the evocative “O Profeta” evolves into waltz-time swing, and the obsessive “Pastilha Elástica” veers toward a jazz/rock trio sound. Actress Ana Brandão contributes a clarion vocal on the pretty renaissance song “Ay! Linda Amiga” (reprised as an instrumental at disc’s end) and a quite wonderfully theatrical and existential delivery of a poem by the Portuguese national poet, Pessoa. A hidden, unlisted take on “Tea for Two” lurks after the last track. Sweet stuff. (by Paul De Barros)


“Azul has a great spectrum – not at least because the musicians represent very different musical cultures thanks to their origins. This results in an emotionally stamped searching for new sounds” (A Capital, Portugal). “Each member of the trio is exciting as a soloist, accompanist and musical painter. Fusion sounds are locked out. Nevertheless (or just because of that) the music sounds fresh, unused and – beautiful” (Zitty, Germany).

“The musicians dare to leave open spaces – one of the most obvious strenghts of the trio. Southern lightness, highly energetic density, humorous playfulness, dramatical heaviness – all that comes together for a stimulating palette of blue shades” (Jazzthetik, Germany).


Carlos Bica (bass)
Jim Black (drums, percussion)
Frank Möbus (guitar)
Ana Brandão (vocals on 03. + 08.)


01. Roses For You (Bina) 4.06
02. Perfume (Bina) 7.25
03. Ser Pessoa (Bina) 1.14
04. O Profeta (Bina) 7.34
05. Pastilha Elástica (Möbus) 3.34
06. Será (Bina) 3.37
07 D.D. From B. (Bina) 4.37
08. Ay! Linda Amiga (Traditional) 6.24
09. Paixão (Bina) 7:31
10. Twist (Bina) 3.47
11 Ay! Linda Amiga (II) (Traditional) 1.30
12 [hidden silent track] 0.04
13 [hidden silent track] 0.05
14 [hidden silent track] 0.06
15 [hidden silent track] 0.10
16 [hidden silent track] 0.05
17 [hidden silent track] 0.05
18 [hidden silent track] 0:06
19 [hidden silent track] 0.19
20. Tea For Two (hidden bonus track) (Bina) 3.46